There were few birds out on the beach at Fort Desoto when I visited during the peak of the red tide algae bloom. The few there were busy eating breakfast. Some were eating the dead sea life that had washed up on shore. I didn’t see any birds acting sick during this trip. Volunteers were out on the beach every day looking for sick birds that could be affected by eating too much of the dead fish. I kept yelling “Don’t eat that.” but they weren’t listening.
A cormorant and osprey were fighting over a lamp-post on the pier.
Even the crows were eating the dead fish. The park rangers kept raking up the shoreline but the dead fish kept washing up on shore.
Royal terns in the air.
The sandbar spit across the channel was full of birds.
A few of the regulars at the pier; the famous great blue heron/great egret hybrid, a ruddy turnstone, a reddish egret, lots of snowy egrets always looking for a handout and great blue heron and reddish egret fighting over space on the railing.
Skimmers were skimming the bait fish.
This reddish egret was bored with me.
Shots of a beautiful morning at the pier. These were taken in early September, before Irma.
It’s always fun to see Red breasted mergansers swimming around near the shore line at Fort Desoto. They are always bobbing for fish and stay busy preening themselves. There were several swimming around in a shallow lagoon near the north beach.
Then the reddish egret photo bombed my shot of the red breasted mergansers diving. He was strutting around like “Hey why are you taking pictures of those ducks when you could be taking pictures of me?”
Then I started taking pictures of the reddish egret.
And a tricolored heron photo bombed my last shot of the reddish egret.
This is the rare hybrid that was seen recently hanging around the fishing pier. Local experts say it’s a cross between a great blue heron and a great egret. He’s got a great blue heron beak and body but legs of a great egret. I found him pretty easily right on the pier, looking for a handout like the other birds.
Great blue heron portrait.
An osprey flying by.
This snowy egret has found a good perch.
Someone caught a big one.
It’s always fun to guess where these big ships are going.
Two baby osprey were peaking out over the nest in the parking lot and the nest on top of the smoke stack next to the bait store.
Dad was close by with lunch. I think he was going to eat some first before he took it over to the nest.
You can almost always find a reddish egret fishing somewhere on the beach.
It rare to see a common loon here in the spring. Especially in his summer breeding colors. When they hang out here during the winter, they are a drab gray color. This one stayed pretty far away from the fishing pier.
Big gulp. There are signs at the fish cleaning station to “Not feed or throw fish parts to the birds” They all do it anyway. In theory it seems okay but the cormorants hang around the pier and get too close and end up getting caught with fishing hooks.
The dolphins playing around the pier.
My Saturday morning walk at Fort Desoto in late May.